Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How much has Russia been through?

Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of the lifting of the German blockade against Leningrad. The blockade lasted nearly 900 day4s during WW2. On an average 42 people died every day during that time [Some estimates are much higher - Lyle]. Yesterday I went to hear a lady who lived during that time. She was 11 when it started and 14 when it ended.  

Interesting fact: they only got 125 grams of food a day. The used metal cups to put hot water inside. There was no t
ea or coffee. She said she very much respected these kinds of cups, because they would warm your hand as you drank. There was no electricity, and there were no candles, because they all ate them. She had a window overlooking the place where the city stored their sugar, butter, and flower to be distributed. But she watched it all burn up over a two-week period. There was no oil, but one amazing story she told was about her father, who collapsed on the sidewalk from hunger one day. A worker, dressed in workers clothes, came over, picked up her father, and dropped a drop of oil in his mouth. Her father was a preacher, and he said he believed it was an angel. Anything edible in the city was eaten. 

Last year, when my grandmother was here, I went to the Bread Museum,
 which explains the history of bread in Russia. One part of it was for the blockade. They had a small glass case with a piece of bread in it. It was made of dust specs, the wrong parts of wheat that you grind to make bread, and
 all sorts of yucky types of dust. Also with my grandmother, I went to the Leningrad cemetery. 
It had a small museum there, and we went inside. The most interesting thing about the museum was a little diary, made up of three or four pages, of a little girl's diary. On the first day, it said, "Mother is dead." On the second day, "Father and Uncle died." On the last day, it read, "All are dead; only I am left." No one knows what happened to the little girl, but one sad thing is that she might have died too. 

There were pictures at the Bread Museum of children looking skin and bone, barely any skin. You wonder if they ate the dead. One more thing the lady said: She was once at the train station; she was there with her mother and an older friend, when all of a sudden the Germans were firing upon them. Her older friend threw her into a ditch and covered her so that the Germans would not see her and shoot her. When it was all over, and the Germans had left, her friend got her out of the ditch and covered her eyes so that she would not see all the dead people. When her mother saw that her friend had kept her daughter safe, she knelt down and kissed her friend's feet. 

It hurts me to know that my country has been through so much. It makes me want to go back in time and help fight. But since I can't, all I can do is pray for Russia. My prayer is that Russia would grow to be a strong Christian nation, and that everybody who is depressed now would have hope. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tied up at the moment

Being tied up at the moment doesn't mean up in strings; it can mean other things too. In my case, I'm tied up about home issues. Right now, I want to see my friends, but also I want to stay here longer. I want to be able to be at home sometimes. But I don't have a good home. My home isn't Russia; my home isn't America. So how am I supposed to know which home is mine. I have a sinking suspicion that once I go back to America, that I'm not going to want to leave, and that once I get back to Russian I'm not going to want to go back to America either. The homiest place I feel now is when I am going to bed and when I'm with God. The tied up issue comes in when I don't know which home is mine, so I'm tied up about my home, even as odd as it sounds. You'd think that since I'd been in America longer than Russia, I'd want to be in America more. But no, that isn't the case. I might go so far as to say that I don't know which country I belong to.

At church, two families with kids around my age have come to Russia a few months ago. Now, believe me, I don't hold a grudge against them for coming, and I'm not mad at them for coming. I just feel a little awkward, because you'd expect me to want to hang out with them more than the Russians, but I tend to want to hang out more with the Russians. I sort of sometimes wish that my family was the only Americans there, because it was easier to handle things. Now that there are two new (American) girls in my class, the Russian girls see that I have someone to talk to, so it gets frustrating when the Americans try to be with me, when I want to be with the other girls.

The only problem is that the girls whom I am with at, say, art school, don't accept me as a friend, so I'm often lonely. (Russians have a problem with this, so it's typical, but that's not my point here.) My point is, I'm not recognized as who I want to be. I want to be recognized as a Russian.

Now that it's winter, I don't see the kids who live in my dvor as much as in the summer, except for one girl from the next dvor, Zhenya, who is being over-consistent with me. She will come over any day she doesn't have too much homework. The problem with that is that she has started to consider me her best friend, and told me so, and I don't consider her a best friend because she usually want everything in her control, and everything her way, and if I'm not able to play, then she will beg and beg and beg until my parents give us about a half an hour for play, and then when that time runs out, she will beg and beg and beg for another half an hour. I've been trying to get her to see that I can play with her all the time, but she is sort of not understanding.

Please pray for me in these situations, that I would feel at home in both places and recognized as who I want to be. And pray that I learn perseverance through the trials I have.